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Dr. Davis<br>
Dr. Davis

Mastering Effective Communication Opens Doors to Career Advancement

Monday, August 12, 2013

During his 20 years of working in the Jefferson County, Ala., Medical Examiner's Office, Gregory Davis, MD, FASCP, has interacted with a wide variety of people, from families whose loved ones have died to attorneys, law enforcement officers, health professionals, and newspaper reporters. 

“Effective communication requires that a person be open, know how to listen, and have empathy. You also need to know the essence of the message you want to communicate.”
—Gregory Davis, MD, FASCP

All of these interactions require effective but different communication, according to Dr. Davis, Associate Coroner and Medical Examiner and Professor of Pathology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, Ala. He will present a webinar titled, “Lessons in Communication from a Forensic Pathologist,” from 4 to 5 p.m. CDT on Aug. 29  as part of the Lab Management University (LMU) certificate program.

At the conclusion of the webinar, there will be a 30-minute new student orientation that outlines the structure, benefits, and details around enrolling into the program and obtaining the LMU certificate of completion.

“Effective communication requires that a person be open, know how to listen, and have empathy,” says Dr. Davis, who presents lectures and workshops nationally on communication, particularly with the legal system. “You also need to know the essence of the message you want to communicate.”  

Whether communicating with patients or colleagues in various settings, pathologists and laboratory professionals need to set up conversations that ultimately benefit patient outcomes. A collaborative initiative of ASCP and the American Pathology Foundation, LMU  helps pathologists, pathology residents and fellows, laboratory administrators, and aspiring leaders and administrators develop and hone their management skills.   

To practice what he advocates, Dr. Davis asked the employees who work in his office what communication skills they most desire in a pathologist. They said that they want a leader to be approachable, clear and consistent, and to keep messages simple and free of medical jargon. 

He emphasizes the importance of valuing employees at all levels as members of a team and underscored that employees at every level also need to practice effective communication. In the simplest terms, Dr. Davis says, “Treat others as you want to be treated. Each individual has worth and knowledge as a person and has something to contribute, so that we all benefit.”

All conversations are important, whether it involves a pathology resident asking for career advice, dealing with a conflict between two employees in the lab, or communicating a test result, because all people matter.

Likewise, in dealing with grieving families who have lost a loved one, Dr. Davis first extends his sympathy, asks how he may be of assistance, and then listens. “You never entirely master communication,” he says. “You just hope to get better and better at it, like the practice of medicine.”

To learn more about Lab Management University, contact Angel Gant at lmu@ascp.org.


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